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CES 2024 Roundup: AI Steals the Show at Annual Technology Fair

Last Updated January 14, 2024 12:12 PM
James Morales
Last Updated January 14, 2024 12:12 PM

Key Takeaways

  • The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took place in Las Vegas this week.
  • At CES 2024, AI emerged as a key theme uniting divergent areas of consumer technology.
  • Two of the most prominent trends include the advance of more powerful, customized in-car AI and the advent of dedicated AI hardware and devices.

During this year’s edition of the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), artificial intelligence (AI) took center stage, with a diverse group of companies showcasing their latest AI innovations, spanning vehicles, healthcare, entertainment and more.

Some of the AI-powered offering on display this year included an automatic grill  that promises to perfectly cook a steak in 90 seconds and a smart catflap  that locks when pets try to bring their prey inside. Meanwhile, carmakers and electronics manufacturers used the event to launch new products that demonstrate the increasingly integral role of AI in modern consumer technology.

Auto Makers Double Down on in-Car AI

While in-car AI has been a trend for several years now, at CES 2024, there wasn’t a carmaker in attendance not boasting some kind of intelligent driving experience. 

For example, Volkswagen announced plans to plug ChatGPT into its voice assistant, IDA. While IDA is currently only available in the company’s ID line of electric vehicles, the upgraded AI assistant will be integrated into Volkswagen’s full range of cars, the firm stated 

While Volkswagen has tapped OpenAI’s chatbot to help make its in-car AI more conversational, BMW has expanded its partnership with Amazon to enhance the experience of using Alexa while driving.

Although Alexa has been available in BMWs since 2018, during CES 2024, the 2 companies demonstrated a customized voice assistant that directly connects to cars’ electronic interfaces. Whereas the first generation of BMW voice assistant offered few advantages over placing a smart speaker on the passenger seat, the new custom Alexa has absorbed specialized knowledge about BMW systems and users can ask it to perform actions such as changing drive mode.

Finally, joining fellow German carmakers to show off the latest smart vehicle innovations, Mercedes unveiled a new AI dashboard to be installed in the 2025 Mercedes CLA. Like Volkswagen and BMW, Mercedes appears to be placing its bets on a future in which drivers can focus on the road while asking their car to take care of other tasks.

AI Chips and Custom Hardware 

Although popular consumer-facing AI platforms like ChatGPT currently work on most smartphones and computers, as people’s use of the technology grows, manufacturers are turning their attention to the hardware needed to run more sophisticated AI workloads.

During a keynote address  at CES 2024, Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon discussed how the chipmaker is adapting to the recent AI boom, building dedicated AI chips like the Snapdragon XR2+, developed in collaboration with Meta to power its next generation of VR headsets.

As well as placing new demands on consumer electronics, AI could also transform the way people interact with technology in the coming years, potentially even ushering in new devices for a post-smartphone era. At least, that’s what one exhibitor in Las Vegas this week wants people to believe. 

Designed by Teenage Engineering, the Rabit R1  has cameras and a screen, but beyond that, it diverges from the path established by the likes of Apple and Samsung in the last decade and a half.

Rather than users sliding their thumbs across a touchscreen to interact with apps, the Rabit R1 functions as a pocket voice assistant and looks more like a GameBoy.

Ultimately, however, the real innovation is in Rabit’s Large Action Model (LAM), which allows to interact with any digital interface a human can.

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